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June 13, 2014
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Election Watch

Cantor Loss Shocks Nation, Raises Questions About Multifamily Issues

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Washington, and the nation, are still reeling over the unexpected defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in a stunning upset by Tea Party candidate David Brat in Tuesday’s primary. His own pollster had him up by 34 points against the virtually unknown and underfunded Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College.

Some are blaming Cantor for not being focused enough on his constituency. “This is Eric Cantor’s fault.  He was in Washington on primary day, not back in his district,” said CNN’s John King.

Cantor disagreed saying, “I was in my district every week, so there’s a balance between holding a leadership position and serving constituents at home, but never was there a day I did not put the constituents of the 7th district of Virginia first.”

There is no disputing that overall Cantor has been a leader on policy issues important to the multifamily industry, including housing finance reform, flood insurance, terrorism insurance and the hotly debated issue of immigration reform. Experts are now working to determine how his dramatic loss will affect these issues and others.

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Officials Testify on Potential Impact of Clean Water Act Changes

The House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment heard testimony on June 11 from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps officials on the potential impact of the agencies’ proposed changes to the Clean Water Act.  These proposed revisions to the Act are so overly broad that even artificial ponds used to store rainwater to prevent runoff would be federally regulated. As crafted, the changes would create significant financial burdens for small businesses without necessarily any improved water quality.

NMHC joined the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC) in submitting testimony for the record at the hearing. The testimony expressed concerns regarding the fact that EPA has failed to finalize a report that would strengthen the scientific rational behind determining what waters would be covered under the rule.  Currently, even EPA’s own Science Advisory Board has raised serious questions about a draft version of the report.  A group of 14 Democratic members of the House also sent a letter to EPA and the Corps urging them to complete the science before proceeding with the rulemaking.  This is just one of numerous letters from Members of Congress that have been filed with the agencies.
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NMHC Insider
2015 ICC Building Codes Released, NMHC/NAA Played Integral Role in Key Changes

The 2015 International Code Council (ICC) building codes have been released for adoption and enforcement at the local level. The most important changes for the multifamily building community affect the requirements for pedestal buildings, or Section 510, and are the direct result of proposals developed by NMHC/NAA consultants and supported by the Masonry Alliance for Codes and Standards.

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House Moves on Small Business Write Offs, Senate Stalled on Tax Extenders

On June 12, the House continued efforts to renew expired tax provisions by passing legislation (H.R. 4457) that allows small businesses, including multifamily firms, to permanently write off up to $500,000 in qualifying investments in the year of purchase. This expensing limit would be phased down if overall investment costs exceed $2 million – ultimately, limiting the proposal to smaller multifamily operators.

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EEOC Criminal Background Check Policy Challenged
On June 10, the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) regulatory and enforcement practices on criminal background checks by employers. According to the EEOC’s 2012 Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment, employers are not prohibited from conducting criminal background checks, but the use of criminal records may not discriminate against an employee or applicant.
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Election Watch
Four States to Hold Primaries on June 24
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s, R-Va., historic loss in this week’s primary – covered above in this week’s edition of Multifamily Mark Up – has taught us that we should not take this primary season for granted. Getting out the vote is key. 
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Hill Watch
Senate Committee Hearing on the Nomination of Julian Castro to be HUD Secretary, Tues., June 17
Senate Committee Hearing on FY 2015 Department of Defense Budget, Wed., June 18
House Committee Hearing on "The Semi-Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," Wed., June 18
Postal Regulatory Commission Meeting, Wed., June 18
House Subcommittee Hearing on EPA Climate Rule, Thurs., June 19
Media Roundup
Treasury Official Says Recapitalizing Fannie, Freddie Not Viable
Meet David Brat, the Man Who Brought Down House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
Washington Post
Why HUD is Bad for Julian Castro
USA Today
Shaun Donovan on Confronting Hurricanes, Homelessness and Big Banks
Washington Post
Affordable Housing That's Very Costly
New York Times
Immigration Reform is Not Dead
The Hill
Big Employers Push Congress on Immigration
Wall Street Journal
The Scoop

“National Seersucker Day” Marks Start of Summer on the Hill (Seriously, This is News?)
Although Representative Eric Cantor suffered a surprising election defeat this week, he can be relieved in knowing that he didn't miss Capitol Hill’s “National Seersucker Day” on June 11, which marks the official start of summer for lawmakers.  The annual tradition of wearing the light-weight stripped suit was started in the 1990s by then-Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, but was cancelled indefinitely in 2012 given the "many serious issues facing the country." Now, it's back again in the House and not the Senate – the reason is not completely clear. What is clear, however, is that it’s a lot easier for lawmakers to organize than Housing Finance Reform and Universal Healthcare. Read More

Please Note
  "Multifamily Markup" will be taking a hiatus next week as our staff attends the NAA Education Conference.

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